Regional Cancer Center ~ Erie, PA

Radiation Therapy

Faces of RCC

Conrad Stachelek, PhD, MD, on Radiation Therapy

Why I Practice Oncology

Radiation oncology services at Regional Cancer Center include RapidArc, IMRT, IGRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, 4D planning (respiratory gating) for lung cancers, high dose rate brachytherapy for GYN and breast cancers (mammosite), BAT ultrasound for prostate cancer, and PET-CT imaging for both diagnostic and treatment planning applications.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be used to treat a large number of primary tumors, often with chemotherapy, and is also used for pain control in end stage disease. State-of-the art technology at RCC includes the Varian Trilogy Radiation Therapy System. All radiation equipment at Regional Cancer Center is monitored daily by both medical physicists and the radiation therapists to ensure technical accuracy and safety.

Radiation is delivered by very high-energy precisely focused treatment machines known as linear accelerators. Generally, radiation therapy is given five days a week over a period of four to eight weeks. Most treatments can be completed in about 15 minutes. The ability to have radiation therapy close to home allows patients to receive treatment while maintaining a lifestyle and work schedule that is as near to normal as possible.

Radiation Therapy Services

Radiation oncology services at Regional Cancer Center include, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), Brachytherapy, 4D treatment planning (respiratory gating) for lung cancers and PET-CT imaging for both diagnostic and treatment planning applications.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) allows doctors to increase the dose of radiation to tumors by precisely targeting the tumor with many radiation beams to improve treatment side effects and cure rate. IMRT shapes the radiation field and dose to accurately match the tumor size and shape, while minimizing the radiation dose to surrounding areas.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) accounts for body motion to ensure that the target is in the same position every treatment session. Imaging scans are done on the treatment machine which enables automated repositioning functions that enable clinicians to verify that treatments are completely in sync. Images are generated to pinpoint tumor sites, adjust patient positioning when necessary, prior to completing a treatment—all within the standard treatment time. RCC’s Trilogy, a highly specialized radiation therapy machine, is used to deliver IGRT treatments.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a radiation delivery procedure that precisely delivers large radiation doses to tumors in the brain and spinal column, often in a small number of sessions (from 1 to 5 treatments) from different angles and planes. The goal of this non-invasive procedure is to destroy, or make inactive, the target anatomy without harming nearby healthy tissue and without involving traditional surgery. Patients who are not candidates for conventional surgery, those who have tumors that cannot be treated surgically and patients with tumors that are adjacent to vital structures can benefit greatly from these highly-precise treatments. RCC’s Trilogy, a highly specialized radiation therapy machine, is used to deliver radiosurgery treatments.

Before the treatment is delivered, Radiation Oncologists and their teams use three-dimensional imaging to determine the exact coordinates of the tumor. Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is also used to confirm the location of the tumor before and during the radiation treatment.

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) is a radiation delivery procedure that precisely delivers large radiation doses to tumors and other relevant anatomical targets, often in a small number of sessions (1 to 5 treatments). The goal of this non-invasive procedure is to destroy, or make inactive, the target anatomy without harming nearby healthy tissue and without involving traditional surgery. Patients who are not candidates for conventional surgery, those who have tumors that cannot be treated surgically and patients with tumors that are adjacent to vital structures can benefit greatly from these highly-precise treatments.

Radiosurgery was initially used to treat tumors in the brain and has now extended to include cancers of the spine, lung, prostate, pancreas, kidney, liver, head and neck and pancreas. RCC’s Trilogy, a highly specialized radiation therapy machine, is used to deliver radiosurgery treatments.

Before the treatment is delivered, Radiation Oncologists and their teams use three-dimensional imaging to determine the exact coordinates of the tumor. Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is also used to confirm the location of the tumor before and during the radiation treatment.

RapidArc

RapidArc technology is a new approach that delivers precise radiation treatments two to eight times faster than other treatments. This major medical advance is more comfortable for patients because they spend less time in their daily treatments. RapidArc rotates 360 degrees around the patient, enabling very small beams with varying intensity to be aimed at the tumor from multiple angles in a single, rotation around the patient. With RapidArc the radiation being delivered to the patient can be modulated continuously throughout treatment. This means that higher doses of radiation are delivered to hit the tumor harder, and less radiation is delivered to surrounding healthy tissue. Learn more about RapidArc >

Brachytherapy

For certain cancers, brachytherapy (internal radiation) may be prescribed. Brachytherapy involves the use of radiation-producing materials placed inside the body to attack cancer. The radiation oncologist leads a team of professionals that administers high dose rate treatments. Brachytherapy in high dose rates is often used to treat gynecological cancers.

Prostate Seeds

For prostate cancer patients, brachytherapy is often referred to as prostate “seed” implantation.
Learn more about Prostate Seeds >

Quadramet (Samarium 153)

An injectable isotope called Quadramet is a cancer therapy agent that may be prescribed for patients with advanced prostate and breast cancer. The isotope provides significant pain relief that can be associated with bony metastasis, the spread of cancer throughout the body.

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